Contrary to legacy media, memes are unstructured, easy to make, and in most cases do not require a large cost, or risk a large amount of failure. They are widely consumed, easily consumed, and if are not consumed, do not suffer from vast ramifications.
Quick side note, this post is purely my opinion on memes and my experience with them, melded together with what my tutors and lecturers have told me. Okay, unpause, continue article.
Personally, I associate memes with humour, whether dark or lighthearted, well thought through or simple Neanderthal jokes, they all strike a funny bone in my body. Before taking the course I’m now taking, that’s all they were to me; a regurgitated idea presented in a creative, simple manner, and were able to be quickly consumed. Nowadays, I think quite similarly, except I add one more element, that they in some way affect your method of thinking. Not in a crazy, trying to change the whole world in a 5 line string of words way, but in a sneaky, dark alleyway sense. Okay not that dark, but in a concealed way. In a way in which you come across election memes 3 times a minute, and don’t realise the effect they are having on you. You see, before this course, what pretty much never crossed my mind was just how effective memes really are.
Picture this, you’re scrolling down your news feed and you see a meme about an issue you have little to no side on. You read it, have a laugh, or show a friend, and then keep scrolling. Doesn’t seem like a huge issue, but slowly more and more memes about the same issue come up. And suddenly without knowing it, you slowly begin to take a stance on the issue. You start scrolling through the comments, engaging in debate on the issue. Or maybe you stay on the fence, but still take memes as “real” information, legit information that helps you build a backbone for both sides of the argument.
To me, memes work like advertisements, except simpler and not always intentional. But they are similar in the sense that our overexposure of certain issues means we subconsciously dedicate brain space to them. Much like you remember certain catchphrases to ads, you too remember certain memes and therefore issues you may not have exposure or interest in, you are almost unwarily being subjected to.
So really, after all this waffle about memes are how they low-key affect you, I’ll leave you in suspense for my next post; a clear example of how memes really did change the world in real-time.
P.S. it has to do with the American election and I promise you it’ll interest you as much as it interested me.